God Leads Us Where He Needs Us
30 Sep 2014

Throughout our lives, we are often asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When children are asked that, the answers are often amusing, and also rather inconsistent. Adults chuckle, and continue to ask at varying intervals. But at a certain point, we begin to be expected to have a plan, a specific idea of what we are going to do with our lives. Those who lack that are looked upon as unrealistic, not dealing with reality, “not playing with a full deck.” The pressure is immense.

I am twenty-two years old, a second semester freshman at a rather small Catholic college. I am a Religious Studies major, although I am considering adding a second major in Communications. My life has gone in directions that I never would have otherwise imagined. Almost every day I am asked: “What do you intend to do with that major?” I am asked to justify a path that seems impractical, useless in the eyes of the world. I am always disconcerted by the implication that I am wasting my life. For a long time, I was further disconcerted by the fact that I do not have an answer.

I have not decided what I am going to do with my life. I do not have a five-year or ten-year plan, let alone a life plan. I have hopes, dreams, desires, but no plan. I have seen my life go in unexpected directions, and I am keenly aware that the unexpected can still happen, no matter how secure my current path may seem. Most importantly, I realize that God truly is in control of everything.

Life paths change unexpectedly. One can find many examples of this throughout Scriptures. Here are just a few:

  • Noah is described as being a righteous man who walked with God. It is uncertain what he did before the Flood, but his life definitely changed when God called him to be shipbuilder and, once he accomplished that, a zoo-keeper!
  • Moses’ life took several unexpected turns. He was born to a Hebrew family, raised in the court of Egypt, became a fugitive and shepherd, and eventually a prophet and leader of his people. God transformed his life thoroughly in ways that Moses never could have planned. Furthermore, he was stubborn and resisted God at many points along the way
  • David was a shepherd. He probably was raised to believe he always would be a shepherd, just like the rest of his family.  He eventually became king.
  • We do not know much about Jonah’s life before or after his encounter with God, but we do know that he was led, at least for a short time, in a direction he did not want to go. In fact, he ran away from the task God was calling him to! God interrupted his life in a way that he could never have planned.
  • Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fisherman in Capernaum. Never did they imagine that they would be asked to leave it all behind to set out on an unknown path. Indeed, in Mark’s Gospel, these men are called without any introduction or even a basic exchange of pleasantries. And yet they embraced the uncertainty of life as a follower of Christ.
  • The same can be said of Saul who was renamed Paul

A priest I had the opportunity to get to know quite well over the course of eleven critical years of my life used to tell me, “If you ever want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I think these stories and many others illustrate this point. I have had a great deal of opportunity to seek advice from a very wise individual. The advice I received on this matter is basically that there is one very good decision that I can make now. To not decide my future now is a decision in and of itself.

God will always get us exactly where he wants us to be. Sometimes the path is crooked and often it is not very clear where it is leading. Life is meant to be an adventure. I am at a place in my life where I am particularly blessed with the opportunity for exploration of all the possibilities my life can take. God may take me many vastly different places over the course of my life.

God sees our lives from a different perspective than we do. We cannot see all that God sees and, in many ways, that makes this thing called life a beautiful adventure, an ever-changing mystery. If we ask God to lead us down the path he would have us go, even when that isn’t easy, even when it is frightening, even when we resist, or are forced out of our comfort zone, even when we have no idea what we are facing, and even when it requires such a radical change in our views, a radical conversion of some part of ourselves, our lives will certainly be infinitely worth the living.

Someone once said to me, “God leads us where he needs us.” This is true in all of our lives, no matter how certain or uncertain our future may be. It is comforting to be able to rest in the confidence of knowing that.